Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spicy Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Black Bean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I think I’ve been in the cooking doldrums.

You know what that’s like. Total lack of inspiration.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve got nothing to turn to in the fridge to get inspired.

It just means that when I look in there nothing inspires me.

Until I saw… the crabmeat.

I want crab salad. I don’t want a mayonnaisy thing.

But I want tons of flavor. And you know, I wouldn’t mind a bit of the Latin influence going on either.

Did you know there are tons of crab salad recipes in the world but none like this.

Spicy and decadent at the same time.

And fast. I was surprised how easily this came together.

In less than an hour.

Inspired eating in less than an hour.

Who knew?

Bobby. Of course.

Spicy Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Black Bean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Adapted from a recipe in From My Kitchen to Your Table by Bobby Flay

Black Beans:
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
A good shake of ancho chile powder
A couple of swirls extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Citrus Vinaigrette

Combine and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Citrus Vinaigrette:
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
A couple of leaves of fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine juices, basil and onion in blender and blend til smooth. Keep motor running and add olive oil in thin stream and blend til emulsified. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
May be refrigerated up to one day. Use on grilled fish. It’s faboo.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
4 good sized roasted red peppers (I had them in a jar and went for it. Too hot to cook)
¼ medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
1-½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine peppers, onion , chipotle and lime juice and blend until smooth. Keep the motor running and slowly add the olive oil in thin stream until emulsified. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Makes about 2 cups.

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
2 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1-½ tsp fresh lime juice
A good squirt wild honey
1 tbsp pureed canned chipotle pepper
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine it all and season to taste.
This can be made a day in advance.

Serve with sliced tomatoes and avocados with extra Roasted Red Pepper Sauce on the side.

Serves 4.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green Sauce

Green sauce.

Pretty unenlightened name for such an enlightened sauce.

This is a sauce that is found all over the world.

But, the name.

It doesn’t describe the way it tastes.

Salty, sweet, bitter, fresh.

It doesn’t describe what it does to a piece of grilled fish, a tortilla Espanola, sliced Bradley tomatoes hot off the vine..

Takes them to a whole new level of flavor. Makes the food dance.

Makes it more than just supper, an omelet, a salad.

Makes it special.

Makes it something a clever cook has in her repertoire for any food occasion that calls for something….green.

Green Sauce

Small handful chives, chopped
3 - 4 anchovies, chopped
A Tbsp capers drained
Juice of 1 lemon
Small handful Italian parsley, chopped
A big squirt of sissy (yellow) mustard (because for the first time in my life I’m out of Dijon)
Squirt of wild honey
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp garlic confit

Put in blender, turn on add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil until thick.

Done .

Makes about ¾ cup.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cantaloupe Sorbet

I love cantaloupe. It’s got such a cool, sexy flavor if you think about it. It works with sweet and salty.

Growing up, cantaloupe was always for breakfast. Always ice cold with salt and pepper on it.

Not any more.

In an effort to maximize the cantaloupe in our lives, I decided it would be the perfect thing after this wonderful spicy dinner Groom was making for a summer supper for friends.

Thanks to a wonderful blog, Vanilla Basil, and a little help from the our big daddy ice cream maker comes a divine Cantaloupe Sorbet. A little Pernod, a little lime makes this an easy, knockout summer dessert.

Cantaloupe Sorbet
Adapted from Vanilla Basil and Cuisinart recipes

2-½ -3 lbs (1 extra large) cantaloupe, seeded and cubed
1 lime, juiced
4-3 inch wide zests of lime
1 cup freshly squeezed Valencia orange juice
¾ cup vanilla sugar
1/3 cup water
Pinch of coarse salt
3 tbsp Pernod

Puree the cantaloupe in a food processor.

Take a 1-½ quart saucepan and put sugar, lime juice, lime zest, Pernod, pinch of salt, orange juice, water over medium high heat and add about 1 cup and a half of pureed cantaloupe. Chill the remaining cantaloupe.

Bring syrup ingredients to boil, then immediately reduce the heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves..

Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. (of course I was in a hurry, so I put it in a bowl and then that bowl in a larger bowl of ice and stirred until it was cool.)

Add the syrup to the cantaloupe, cover and chill for two hours. Remove lime zest before freezing.

Put in freezer bowl of ice cream maker and follow directions, letting this stir and chill for about 30-40 minutes. It will be like an Italian ice, according to Cuisinart, meaning slushy, or you could freeze it til you are ready to eat! If you like, a little Pernod on the side is wonderful!

Makes a ton..


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ancho Chile-Brown Sugar Rubbed Wild Salmon with Grilled Silver Queen Corn Relish

Silver Queen corn is coming into the markets here in Middle Tennessee.

If you haven’t tried this particular kind of corn, put it on your list of things to eat.

Boiled, steamed, grilled it is a flavorful corn that lends itself to all preparations.

Which, of course, leads me to Grilled Silver Queen Corn Relish.

Just a few ears of corn, boiled for 5 minutes, then thrown on the grill for a couple of minutes to slightly brown, then mixed with a bit of wild honey, fresh cilantro , a roasted jalapeno and a bit of olive oil and lime juice.

It’s the perfect accompaniment to a couple of gorgeous Ancho Chile-Brown Sugar rubbed grilled wild salmon fillets.

Long live the Queen.

Ancho Chile-Brown Sugar Rubbed Wild Salmon with Grilled Silver Queen Corn Relish
Adapted from several recipes by Bobby Flay

Grilled Silver Queen Corn Relish

3 ears of corn, shucked and boiled for five minutes
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp wild honey
1 jalapeno, roasted, seeded and chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 green onions, grilled for about three minutes and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro*
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to medium high. Place corn on the grill and cook on all sides for about two minutes. You just want it to color a bit. Remove and scrape corn off cob into bowl. Should be about 1-½ cups.

Put lime juice, honey and roasted jalapeno in blender. Blend to mix.

Turn blender on and add the extra virgin olive oil in steady stream til it emulsifies.

Add the green onions to the corn and add the jalapeno mix. Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2 very generously.

Ancho Chile-Brown Sugar Rub

2 nice sized fillets wild salmon, skin left on one side

2 tbsp ancho chile powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-½ tsp brown sugar
A really good pinch ground cinnamon
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
A couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil

Combine the rub mixture, careful with the olive oil, you just want this to come together, not be too thick or thin., remember you want it to stick to the salmon and not run off.

Coat the salmon on the skinless side with the rub. Let sit for 15 minutes.

On medium hot grill, put salmon skin side down and cook for about five minutes. Then turn the fillets and cook for a couple of minutes til the sugar caramelizes.

Serves 2.

* I didn't have a lot of cilantro, so I threw in some Italian parsley to augment what I had. Stick with the cilantro!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Barbecued Chicken

You know, sometimes you want barbecued chicken. Something gooey, divine, chickeny. Makes you think about dinner outside on the terrace, fireflies lighting the hot July night.

Then again, you want it to reflect your current favorite flavors and tastes.

Adaptation is a wonderful thing. You can take a basic barbecue chicken recipe, rummage through your refrigerator for the condiments I go on and on about (and of course you listen), and all of a sudden you’ve got something special.

All you need are the fireflies.

Barbecued Chicken

1 large tbsp garlic confit
¼ cup sun dried tomato paste
¼ cup Romesco sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup aged sherry vinegar
½ cup dark Muscavado sugar
¼ cup molasses

Heat sauce ingredients on the stove til the sugar melts, keep warm but don’t let it boil.
This will make enough sauce for a “Pick of the chick“ from the grocery.
remove the skin. season with lots of lemon juice, a bit of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Let this sit for about 15 minutes, or more, depending on your time frame.
Be sure to oil the grates of the grill so the chicken doesn’t stick. Cook the chicken over a medium hot fire, covered for about 15 minutes. Then, take the top off the grill, turn the chicken and baste until it’s cooked, about 10 minutes more, til the chicken is about 160 degrees when you take its temperature.

Makes 9 pieces of positively divine barbecued chicken.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

96 Degree Grilled Shrimp and Orecchiette

Life just doesn’t stop because it’s 96 degrees in the shade.

You want good food fast in the summer, you’re going to get a little hot.

For example:

Put a large stockpot on the stove to bring to the boil and cook some orecchiette.

The top of your head is now glistening.

Go outside and grill the shrimp while the orecchiette is cooking.

You’ve got a serious glow about you now. The back of your shirt is sticking to you.

Bring the shrimp in to the kitchen. Set aside. Drain the pasta.

Go take a cold shower, stand in front of fan, bring your internal temperature down to an acceptable range and you ready to make a wonderful supper.

And you’ll be cool as a cucumber when you fix it.

96 Degree Grilled Shrimp and Orecchiette

2 cups sweet 100 tomatoes, diced
¼ cup garlic flavored olive oil (from the confit)
1 tbsp black olive Tapenade
½ cup diced roasted red bell pepper
About a Tbsp capers, drained
1 anchovy fillet, chopped
1 tbsp garlic confit
¼ cup chopped fresh mixed herbs, basil, thyme and Italian parsley
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
9 large shrimp, grilled til they turn pink
4 ounces orecchiette, cooked, rinsed

Combine, correct seasoning and serve.

Serves 3 generously.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grilled Steelhead Trout with Mexican Slaw and Orange Jalapeno Sauce

There are a lot of things one can do on an anniversary.

Go out to dinner. Go to a movie. Go on a fabulous trip.

Or, do what we did.


Nothing out of the ordinary, that is.

We lit the candles, put on some jazz and cooked a wonderful dinner together.

And took a walk with Lucy.

Why wait for a date that comes once a year when you can celebrate each other every day.

Makes perfect sense to me!

Grilled Steelhead Trout with Mexican Slaw and Orange Jalapeno Sauce
A total riff on a great fish taco recipe in Bobby Flay's Grill It

2 good sized steelhead trout fillets or salmon, seasoned with orange juice, a bit of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper
¼ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
3 green onions, green and white parts thinly sliced
¼ cup Hellmann’s mayo
½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 tbsp pureed canned chipotle chiles in adobo
Grated zest of 1 lime
½ lime, juiced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups orange juice
3 slices pickled jalapenos
2 tbsp honey

Put the orange juice into a medium saucepan. Add the jalapeno. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally til reduced to about half a cup. Takes about 30 minutes. Add the honey and season with salt. Let cool to room temp before serving.

Grill the trout.

Whisk together the mayo, yogurt, chipotle puree, lime zest and juice in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add to cabbage and the green onions. Add the cilantro and fold to combine.

Put a bit of the slaw on the plate, then the grilled trout and then a drizzle of the orange sauce over the top.

Prepare to swoon a bit.

Serves 2 generously.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Black Bean Salad with Cumin and Mint Vinaigrette




Gets better if stands overnight.

Can eat rolled up in a flour tortilla, as a base for nachos, underneath a piece of spicy grilled chicken.

Can eat topped with grilled shrimp and a splat of guacamole.

Can eat while standing in front of refrigerator with spoon.

Your choice.

Black Bean Salad with Cumin and Mint Vinaigrette
Adapted from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison

2 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup each diced yellow, green and red peppers
1 small red onion, cut into small squares and soaked in ice water for 10 minutes
2 stalks celery, diced
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried Mexican oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro*
Diced avocado*

Combine in bowl. Add vinaigrette and fold together. Taste and correct the seasoning.

*add these right before serving.

Cumin and Mint Vinaigrette

1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp garlic confit or 2 fat garlic cloves, smashed and finely minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh mint leaves (about a tbsp)
Chopped fresh cilantro (about a tbsp)
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

Combine juice, peel vinegar, salt and garlic in bowl. Put cumin and coriander seeds in mortar and pestle or grind in spice grinder. Add with paprika to combined ingredients. Whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust seasoning and add the jalapeno and fresh herbs.
Serves 4.